Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Speed Bumps and Snafus

By Annette Dashofy

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the upcoming Pennwriters Conference. Shortly afterwards, our intrepid co-coordinators ran into a small problem. Okay, not so small. It’s what I’d call a snafu. You do know what that is, right? Situation Normal: All F*cked Up.

What else can you call it when your superstar keynote speaker has to bow out on you three months before the conference?

Yes, Jennifer Weiner, who has been bending over backwards to make this Pittsburgh appearance work, has run into a snafu of her own. It’s called Hollywood. (We should all have such problems.) A comedy series she co-wrote has been picked up by ABC Family and their filming schedule coincides with our conference.

As they say, timing is everything.

A call for help went out. And was answered! I love the writing community. Within hours, several names were on the list of possible replacements. And the winner is…

Jacquelyn Mitchard!! Her first novel, Deep End of the Ocean, because Oprah’s first Book Club pick. She’s gone on to write eight more best selling novels and four young adult novels. Her credentials go on and on. But the bottom line is, she’s going to be a fabulous and inspirational Friday keynote speaker.

Also in the “speed bump” category is a delay in the opening of registration. The plan was to have the website ready to go yesterday. But due to a few glitches, our new date is March 5. In the meantime, feel free to check out the website and browse.


Ramona said...

I am sorry to hear that Jennifer Weiner can't be at Pennwriters, but it's a good reason.

Now onto Jacquelyn Mitchard. A couple of years ago, I attended the Writers At The Beach conference in Rehoboth, DE. WATB is a charitable conference, with 100% of net proceeds going to A.I. duPont Hospital for Children and mitochondrial disease research. All of the speakers donate their time and pay their own expenses.

Jacquelyn Mitchard was the scheduled keynote, but she lives in England--and she'd broken her ankle. But she came anyway, hobbled around, and gave a HILARIOUS talk about getting published. This woman is really inspiring. I can't wait to hear her again.

Martha Reed said...

Hi, Annette. One thing I've learned with project management is that these things happen - and always at the 11th hour. But as you say, thankfully we have a tremendous community to pull from.

I (still) can't wait!

PatRemick said...

Sounds like a great recovery -- and a great conference!

Annette said...

I'm glad Jacquelyn isn't living in England now, Ramona, or we couldn't afford the airfare!

Martha, yes, there are always last minute problems and cancellations. Goes with the territory. Granted, Meredith and Julie had to deal with a BIG one this time. Kudos to Lisa Kastner of Pennwriters who was responsible for getting Jacquelyn for us.

Joyce Tremel said...

It doesn't matter to me who the keynote speaker is--or if they have one at all. I'd go to the conference anyway. To me, it's more about the panels and networking.

Annette said...

I agree, Joyce. But the fact is having a good keynote is a draw. In 2009, I had someone come from Puerto Rico just because Lisa Scottoline was our keynote. I don't think that person would have come for just the workshops. So from a conference coordinator's perspective, having that "name" up front is huge.

Meredith Cohen said...

Yes, Lisa really saved the day on this one! We are thrilled that Jacquelyn Mitchard will be joining us in May! She is such a wonderful lady.

We hope you will enjoy the slate of workshops and speakers Julie and I have assembled for you!

Hope to see you all in May!

Julie Long said...

Let's hope for no more speed bumps and SNAFUs! We appreciate all the understanding, patience and support.

Annette said...

Julie, if any more speed bumps or snafus happen, you'll breeze right through them because you and Meredith have tackled a big one with a great deal of grace.

(Yes, I know there was also a great deal of hyperventilating going on behind the scenes, but no one needs to know about that. ;-))

Cheryl Elaine Williams said...

I am soooo looking forward to this conference and to hearing Jacqueline as the keynote speaker!